News : Grant Will Give County Back-up 911 System
Butte, MT, USA, Oct 27, 2015 -- Silver Bow has secured a grant to set up an alternative 911 call center at the Emergency Operations Center on the Flat should the one at the Sheriff’s Department in Uptown Butte go down.
The federal grant, administered through the state, will pay for the entire system and equipment. It was one of the priorities when construction on the emergency operations center building was completed nearly a year ago.
The building also houses the Butte district of the Montana Highway Patrol and a driver’s license office.
"We already have the electrical wiring in here to build the system," Dan Dennehy, the county’s director of emergency management, said Monday.
Commissioners recently signed off on the grant and conditions, as well as a federal grant that will pay for half of this year’s operating costs for the center. The county must match that grant with an equal amount of money.
The first grant will pay for an antenna tower up to 50 feet high, similar to one Uptown that serves the current 911 system.
"The antennae will allow us to have constant communication with first responders and dispatch them," Dennehy said. "We have to be able to communicate with them."
First responders include police, firefighters, ambulance service and St. James Healthcare, among others.
The grant also will pay for equipment for two 911 stations in the emergency center so dispatchers can take incoming calls and make outgoing ones. The one Uptown has four or five stations, Dennehy said.
He said he and other county officials applied for the grant and had to make a pitch for it to state disaster officials. There wasn’t enough money to give similar grants to all communities and this one pays for 100 percent of the costs.
"This was really a big deal for us," Dennehy said.
The other grant will pay for half of the center’s operating costs.
The center was years in the making and although other Montana cities have one, Butte’s is the newest and includes all new equipment. The building at 3615 Wynne Ave. will operate as a command center where disasters – man-made or not – can be sized up and relief efforts coordinated.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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